Lily Vanilli

Restaurants, Bakeries Bethnal Green
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(14user reviews)
14 Love It
Save it
 (Emily Buckingham)
Emily Buckingham
 (Emily Buckingham)
Emily Buckingham
Venue says Friendly Sunday cafe with delicious coffee, cakes and pastries. We also offer a fully bespoke cake, canape and wedding cake service.

Lily Jones (aka Lily Vanilli) carved out a solid, celebrity-packed fan base well before opening her own bakery. Her foray into sculptural, macabre cake creations (roadkill cake, gingerbread gravestones, marzipan beetles) gave sweet treats a contemporary, anti-cute makeover and set her far apart from the mainstream cupcake clan.

It’s a touch surprising, then, to find her first establishment, just off Columbia Road flower market, completely void of gore. The baker’s experimental creativity, however, remains on show.

On our visit, we ogled a towering pomegranate and coconut Victoria sandwich, glistening honeycomb and ganache tarts and individually turned out cherry bakewells. The bakewells – lined up like cherry-topped pork pies – had a unique pastry top concealing buttery, almond-sweet frangipane and a beautifully sharp fruit compote. The more familiar red velvet cupcakes were equally good, as was a heady, deliciously naughty absinthe and mint ice cream.

Space is tight (this is a bakery, after all) with not much indoor seating and a courtyard area packed with customers. Vintage styling and rustic touches (wooden boards on the counters and areas of bare brick) make this a cosy teatime destination – one you’d gladly make the effort to visit on Sunday, the sole opening day.

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Lily Vanilli says
We make everything onsite at our friendly bakery in the heart of beautiful Columbia Road. Stop here for delicious coffee and cakes, pastries, soups and our famous sausage rolls is the perfect way to complete a Sunday outing to the flower market.

Originally dubbed the 'queen of cupcakes', Lily went on to open this shop with a wide range of modern patisserie and cakes and it has since been voted one of Britain's best bakeries by British Vogue. The cosy interior and outdoor seating make it a perfect Sunday destination, with families and dogs very welcome. There are lots of delicious edible gifts and we always have vegan and gluten free options available too.

We offer a fully bespoke cake and wedding cake service - see website for details.
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Venue name: Lily Vanilli
Address: 6 The Courtyard
E2 7RH
Cross street: Ezra Street
Opening hours: Open 8.30am-4.30pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Cambridge Heath rail
Price: Tea and cake for two with service: around £12
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Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:2
2 people listening
Chlo Fo
1 of 1 found helpful

Delectable cakes, good coffee and friendly staff. Decoration on these cakes is out of this world and immediately draw you in to this tiny little cafe. It's more set up as a grab and go kind of place, which is a bit of shame as it would be nice to sit and enjoy them, but it gets so busy that they've sadly not really got the space for that. If you're lucky and you're there late enough on a Sunday there may be a free cake in it as they get rid of left over stock!

Laura G

A touch of beauty, a touch of creativity, Lily Vanilli is one of those friendly places that it's impossible not to like if you go with the right expectations. Run like a family place, you can see the someone messy kitchen in the background whilst goodies are being replaced as you queue up for your turn to be served. That being said, it's not a place to linger and catch up, with a rather long counter with the exposed goods to choose from and little seating space - maybe not the most hygienic but, if you're not too fussy, you'll enjoy the experience of drooling over the beautifully crafted creations. Grab a bite (some savoury pastries also available, yay!) and a coffee, and head to the neighboring Columbia Flower Market on a Sunday for the perfect setting to devour your choice.

Mei M

Such a lovely cake cafe in one of the best spots in East London. Cakes look amazing and taste wonderful. It does get quite busy on Sundays when the Flowers Market is on, but it is really worth a visit. You'll find it right in the heart of the little vintage market courtyard. Make sure you go there early to find the full selection as food gets sold out quickly!


The cakes look absolutely stunning - but being someone of a more savoury disposition I opted for the classic cheese on toast. It was super tasty, but my big qualm is they wouldn't heat it up for us! I'm a little forgiving because they had a long line, and few staff, but still.. cold cheese and toast kind of looses the magic for me!

Ioanna La

Cute little cafe right next to Columbia Road Flower Market at a cute little courtyard. As you might expect it gets quite busy on Sundays when the market is on. Excellent quality and amazing flavours but slightly expensive and they don't have a big selection - it feels the demand is much more than the actual product. Perhaps if you go early you have better luck than me! Excellent coffee too and a cute table that you can share and drink your coffee. There are also some stands and some outdoor tables in the courtyard!

Angela L

What is with the £10 credit card limit these little cafes impose on an increasingly cashless society these days? Also they didn't have soy for the coffees on Sunday morning, their most busy day of the week due to Columbia Road Flower Market... really unacceptable. Service was just so disinterested, geez, where did they hire these people? There are other places, this looks trendy but really, I wouldn't go back.


THE BEST! THE BEST! A SUNDAY ESSENTIAL! most delicious treats sweet and savoury. the root cake is the best thing to ever happen to a vegetable.


Absolutely delicious moist spelt carrot cake, cut generously for £3, you could really taste the quality of the ingredients and the care that had gone into baking it. Washed down with literally the best coffee I've had in London (just pipping Soho's Flat White to the post). My gf had the salted chocolate brownie which was melt in the mouth lovely (at least the corner I got to try!) The countertops were overflowing with unusual cafe treats we didn't get to try this time: mini bakewells, velvet cupcakes, delicious-looking sausage rolls, even Absinthe ice cream (!). There's a buzzy atmosphere as it's popular and different and a feeling of having found something happening. I didn't find the staff (including Lily Vanilli herself who was a gracious hostess with the mostess) unfriendly, just busy and serving people fast to keep the queues down.


Excellent quality and delicious cakes! A massive range to choose from. Fun & knowledgable staff. We had a perfect afternoon!


Not impressed by the cupcakes: very plain and not many varieties available. Staff could be nicer and more polite.

Little M
0 of 1 found helpful

Unprofessional staff. Difficult to place an order from a voucher, treated us as second class customers.